Finally, A Beer That Will Solve Your Creative Problems

It’s been said that if you want to generate new ideas, drink beer. But if you want to actually accomplish them, drink coffee. Research has even determined how much you need to drink to get into that creative zone. Now a brewery in Denmark has come out with a beer that is specifically marketed to help you get there.

Keep in mind that it isn’t anything special in the beer, the bottle has an indicator that tells you when you’ve consumed enough to get into the zone. So you’re free to drink whatever you want as long as you don’t overdo it.

Farewell, Dr. Dobb’s

Dr. Dobb’s, the programming magazine that’s managed to survive for 38 years, is putting its web site into maintenance mode. No new content, no changes, but the site will remain (at least for a while).

dr. dobb’s journal of Tiny BASIC Calisthenics & Orthodontia (with the subtitle Running Light Without Overbyte) started in 1975 as a photocopied publication intended to distribute and cover the recently developed Tiny BASIC. It grew into a sort of standard reference for programmers working with microcomputers but pretty much lost that once the Internet became generally available. Still, it continued to publish (as a digital-only publication) and maintain its web site until now.

Trying to find the Lehigh Valley RR museum in Manchester, NY

Back in June I took a quick weekend trip to Manchester, NY to visit the Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society. I assumed (but didn’t verify) that it would have some rolling stock similar to the site I visited a few years back in Pennsylvania.

Well, lessons learned. The historical society has a building that appears to be a former freight depot but not only was it not open, there is no rolling stock or anything related to railroads other than the building itself. But all was not lost.

On the way into Manchester, there’s a lone caboose sitting by itself in a small park. It’s fully restored and the park itself is maintained by volunteers, including former LVRR employees. So here’s some photos I took with my Lubitel on Fuji Velvia film. The Velvia really brings out the Lehigh Valley color.


Margaret Hamilton: lead software engineer on Project Apollo

In case you may be wondering, Project Apollo was the project that successfully put men on the Moon. Doing so would have been impossible without computers; this was literally beyond the capability of humans and sliderules. Today the computers used on Apollo seem incredibly primitive but they required a lot of programming and Margaret Hamilton led the team that delivered some of the most reliable software ever.

The photo at the top of the linked article shows her standing next to the printout of all the code for Apollo, which should give you an idea of the scale of the task>

The science behind misheard lyrics

There’s a name for when you mishear song lyrics, they’re called mondegreens (which is itself a mondegreen). There’s quite a bit of science behind them that gets into the nature of how we really hear.

Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way.

Angels of Death

On Christmas Eve of 2012, the Rochester area was rocked by the news of the shooting death of two volunteer firefighters as they arrived at the scene of house fire. The shooter, a convicted criminal who could not legally purchase or own guns was able to get his hands on them thanks to a woman willing to be a “straw purchaser” and buy the guns for him. He was killed during the police response and she was later caught and convicted in both federal and state court.

I’m sure a lot of folks around here assumed this was an isolated incident given NY’s fairly strict gun laws, but the truth is lots of young women make a living purchasing guns for those who legally can’t do so themselves. Many of the guns are purchased in Southern states with loose gun regulations and then resold in many Northeastern states, NY being one of the more frequent destinations.

Beer Countries vs. Wine Countries

If you ask someone what the national drink of Britain is, they’re likely to say beer. Ask the same question about Spain, they’ll probably say wine. But thanks to climate change and a host of other factors, those traditional stereotypes are changing. Spaniards now drink a lot of beer and Britain is becoming a wine producing (and not just importing) country. Meanwhile in the US, craft beer and spirits are surging in popularity while regions like the Pacific Northwest are joining NY and California in producing wine. It’s an amazing time to be alive if you imbibe, no matter where you live.